|Publication number||US7822431 B2|
|Application number||US 12/630,197|
|Publication date||Oct 26, 2010|
|Filing date||Dec 3, 2009|
|Priority date||May 25, 2006|
|Also published as||CN101449560A, EP2020141A2, US7668560, US20070274241, US20100081468, WO2007140025A2, WO2007140025A3|
|Publication number||12630197, 630197, US 7822431 B2, US 7822431B2, US-B2-7822431, US7822431 B2, US7822431B2|
|Inventors||Michael J. Brothers|
|Original Assignee||Sony Ericsson Mobile Communications Ab|
|Export Citation||BiBTeX, EndNote, RefMan|
|Patent Citations (2), Classifications (16), Legal Events (1)|
|External Links: USPTO, USPTO Assignment, Espacenet|
This application is a continuation of, and claims priority to, U.S. patent application Ser. No. 11/440,666 filed 25 May 2006, the contents of which application are incorporated herein in their entirety by reference.
The present invention relates to a system and method of communicating data from network isolated devices to remote devices connected to communication networks.
The wide-spread deployment of various wireless communication technologies has vastly increased the network accessibility of remote devices, thus improving communication coverage and information access. For example, various short and long-range wireless communication technologies enable remote devices to communicate and share information. Despite the rapid expansion of wireless network coverage, the location of some devices still prevents the devices from gaining access to a network, e.g., through a network access point. Such network isolated devices, i.e., devices whose location prevents direct access to communication networks may lack direct network connectivity for various reasons, e.g., poor line of sight, lack of network coverage, shielding, weak signal strength, distance, reception sensitivity, multi-path or null points, etc.
As devices become more ‘intelligent’, e.g., by having various computer and electronic components included in them, there becomes an increasing need to access, monitor and communicate with network isolated devices. For example, designers and/or operators of intelligent devices located in network isolated areas may want to verify proper device operation, upgrade software code, access data generated by such devices, and transfer data to such devices. Of particular interest to device designers and/or operators may be telemetry data generated by network isolated devices, e.g., information relating to device operating conditions or consumer behavior.
Some network topologies, e.g., mesh-based networks, have expanded wireless network coverage by routing information such as data, voice and instructions between network nodes. Mesh networking maintains continuous connections, thus reconfiguring around blocked paths by “hopping” from node-to-node until a connection can be established. As such, a mesh network remains operational even when a node breaks down or a connection is terminated. Mesh and other similar network topologies utilize knowledge of preexisting nodes to establish signal routing paths. That is, nodes must be known to a mesh network in order for that node to be configured as part of the mesh. In addition, data is dynamically routed between nodes in a mesh network as data is received and while the nodes remain connected to the mesh. Further, isolated nodes such as unknown nodes, disconnected nodes or nodes outside the signal range of a mesh network are isolated from the corresponding mesh network. As such, network isolated devices are communicatively isolated from mesh and other similar network topologies.
The methods and devices described herein enable a first communication device without direct network access to send a message to a second communication device connected to a remote network by relaying the message through one or more mobile communication devices. The methods and devices take advantage of the ad hoc networking capabilities of mobile communication devices to propagate the message from the network isolated communication device through one or more mobile communication devices to a network access point.
In one embodiment, the network isolated communication device transfers the message to one or more mobile communication devices when the mobile communication devices come within range of the network isolated device. The mobile communication devices receiving the message may relay the message to other mobile communication devices. When one of the mobile communication devices receiving the message comes within the range of a network access point, it establishes communication with the network access point and transfers the message to the network access point. Thus, the message can be relayed from one mobile communication device to another until it reaches a network access point.
To prevent overburdening the network, the relayed message may include an extinction parameter that causes the relayed message to be discarded after a predetermined number of ‘hops’ or after a predetermined time period has expired. For example, the extinction parameter may correspond to an amount of time elapsed before a mobile communication device relays the message to another mobile device or to a network access point. In another example, the extinction parameter may correspond to a number of mobile communication devices that previously transferred the data. In yet another example, the extinction parameter may correspond to a data relay cancellation message received by a mobile communication device. In still another example, the extinction parameter may correspond to a decay statistic indicating dispersion of the data.
An incentive may be offered to users of mobile communication devices to encourage users to allow their devices to be used for data transfer. For example, an accounting server may be employed that rewards users that allow their mobile communication devices to be used for data transfer. In one embodiment, users of mobile communication devices are offered an incentive to enable their devices for mobile data relay. Those devices that transferred the data are identified. One or more of the devices identified as having transferred the data are then credited, e.g., those devices that formed part of a successful data relay path are credited.
Of course, the present invention is not limited to the above features and advantages. Those skilled in the art will recognize additional features and advantages upon reading the following detailed description, and upon viewing the accompanying drawings.
To send data to the destination device 30, the network isolated device 20 transfers data addressed to the destination device 30 to one or more mobile communication devices 50 that come within range. The mobile communication devices 50 receiving the message may relay the message to other mobile communication devices 50. When one of the mobile communication devices 50 receiving the message comes within the range of the network access point 42, it establishes communication with the network access point 42 and transfers the message to the network access point 42. Thus, the message can be relayed from one mobile communication device 50 to another until it reaches the network access point 42.
In more detail, the wireless communication circuit 66 comprises any suitable circuitry that transmits and receives wireless signals, e.g., a wireless transmitter and receiver or a wireless transceiver. Regardless of the particular circuit configuration, the wireless communication circuit 66 establishes a temporary wireless communication connection with one or more in-range mobile communication devices 50. Using the BLUETOOTH protocol as a purely illustrative example, the communication circuit 66 forms a wireless communication link over a radio channel that exists between the network isolated device 20 and one or more in-range BLUETOOTH-compatible mobile communication devices 50. Each link, which comprises a control and signaling logical link, transports data between the network isolated device 20 and the mobile communication device 50. Higher-level application and service protocol functions such as reassembly of application data may be implemented by the communication controller 64, or alternatively, by other components (not shown) included in the network isolated device 20. Those skilled in the art will readily recognize that the network isolated device 20 may implement other wireless communication protocols for communicating with in-range mobile communication devices 50, e.g., Ultra-WideBand (UWB), Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers (IEEE) 802.11 Wireless Fidelity (WiFi), IEEE 802.16 Worldwide Interoperability for Microwave Access (WiMax), Wireless Broadband (WiBro), Infrared (IrDA), Radio Frequency Identification (RFID), Near Field Communication (NFC), HiperLAN, HiperMAN, IEEE 802.20, IEEE 802.15.4 (ZigBee), or the like, each of which are well known in the art.
The scheduler 68 determines the appropriate times for transferring data according to predetermined criterion. For example, the scheduler 68 may schedule transmissions at predetermined intervals, e.g. once per week, or when predetermined events occur. The scheduler 68 may also determine the number of mobile communication devices 50 that should receive the data for each data transfer. For example, it may be desirable to transfer the same data to multiple mobile communication devices 50 in order to ensure a predetermined probability of successful transmission. Scheduling decisions by the scheduler 68 may be based on one or more distribution parameters that specify how often data is to be transferred and how many mobile communication devices to use. The distribution parameters may be stored in memory 62 and may be dynamically updated depending on changing conditions.
Messages sent by the network isolated device 20 may be encapsulated in data packets, as illustrated by the exemplary packet 80 shown in
The extinction parameters in the extinction parameters field 94 indicate when the message relay process should be terminated. For example, the extinction parameter(s) may specify a maximum number of “hops”, or a time period when the relay process should be terminated. In one embodiment, the extinction parameter corresponds to an amount of time elapsed before a mobile communication device relays the message to another mobile device or to a network access point. In another embodiment, the extinction parameter corresponds to a number of mobile communication devices that previously transferred the data. In yet another embodiment, the extinction parameter corresponds to a data relay cancellation message received by a mobile communication device. In still another embodiment, the extinction parameter corresponds to a decay statistic such as half-life. For example, if a certain number of devices have transferred a message or the cumulative message transfer time exceeds a predefined limit, the half-life extinction parameter expires. As such, the half-life extinction parameter limits the potentially exponential dispersion of a message in that it limits the quantity of devices or time available for making successive connections.
Prior to transferring message data to another communication device, the mobile device 50 may add a mobile communication device identifier 96 uniquely associated with the device 50 to the message, e.g., as part of the header portion 92 of the packet 80 illustrated in
In accordance with the incentive offered, the accounting server 44 then credits the mobile devices 50 identified as having transferred the data (Step 304). In some embodiments, the accounting server 44 credits all mobile devices 50 that transferred the data. That is, a mobile device that transferred the data is credited regardless of whether that device was part of the data relay path that ultimately resulted in successful delivery of the data. In other embodiments, the accounting server 44 credits only those mobile communication devices 50 that formed part of the data relay path that resulted in successful delivery of the data are credited. As such, mobile devices 50 that transferred the data, but did contribute to the data being successfully received by the destination device are not credited. In yet other embodiments, the accounting server 44 may analyze the message ID field 86 of each received message to determine whether duplicate messages were successfully relayed. The accounting server 44 may then credit only those devices that relayed the first instance of a received duplicate message. Alternatively, the accounting server may credit each device or a subset of devices that transferred subsequently received duplicate messages. The accounting server 44 may be included in or associated with the network-connected device 30 or the network access point 42 or may be a separate entity coupled to the communication remote network 40 as shown in
Optionally, the users of mobile communication devices 50 may be incentivized to transfer data from the network-connected device 30 to the network isolated device 20, e.g., by using a unique identifier associated with the device 20. For example, software upgrades or other information may be transferred to the network isolated device 20 via one or more mobile devices 50. Mobile devices 50 that transferred the data may be credited in accordance with the incentive offered. In one embodiment, the network isolated device 20 may subsequently identify to the network-connected device 30 or to the accounting server 44 which mobile devices successfully relayed the data. The users of those devices may then be credited accordingly.
Thus, while the invention has been described in terms of specific embodiments, it should be understood that the present invention is not limited by the foregoing description, nor is it limited by the accompanying drawings. Instead, the present invention is limited only by the following claims and their legal equivalents.
|Cited Patent||Filing date||Publication date||Applicant||Title|
|US20030028672 *||Aug 3, 2001||Feb 6, 2003||Goldstein Timothy L.||Opportunistic transmission of portably stored digital data|
|US20040225762 *||Jun 28, 2001||Nov 11, 2004||Poo Teng Pin||Method and devices for data transfer|
|U.S. Classification||455/515, 455/557, 455/517, 455/458|
|Cooperative Classification||H04L67/325, H04L67/2861, H04L67/04, H04L67/06, H04L67/2852, H04W88/04, H04W8/005|
|European Classification||H04L29/08N27U, H04L29/08N27S4, H04L29/08N3, H04L29/08N5|